Autumn is here!

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BLOG POST number six

I can not believe that we are almost at the end of September already and yes I have been thinking that in just under 100 days it’s time to put up that dam tree again! Time really does fly by when you are having fun and I’m taking a look around Summerville to see all the things that we have managed to get done this year already.

I have two unfinished projects on the go at the moment and I’m sure it will take a little bit longer to pull all them together. I read a very interesting article recently about slow decorating. This is apparently a thing now where it’s cool to take your time doing up your living space so i’m finally on trend!

Looking at my first unfinished space,  I have been doing a lot of hallway faffing and I have picked up some lovely items to style up this space. I am far from the finished result but as I have promised myself that I would indeed produce one solid blog post each month, I’m aware that September is all but slipping away and I have produced nothing yet. I had planned to blog about my garden produce but to be honest we have eaten most of it so I am going to take you through my hallway progress so far.

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I’m not going to talk about my decorating at this point as I want this post to be based on my styling which begins with this gorgeous mirror that I picked up a few years ago in The Range. They have a wonderful selection of mirrors at really good prices and this one cost around £30 so it was a bargain for a mirror its size. The pom-pom garland was purchased online from a small independent business based in New Zealand. I picked it up in their sale actually but it was perfect for my hallway and I loved the muted tones and little colour pops. It cost around £25 including shipping costs. The hello sign was purchased from Cotton Clara one of my favourite indi shops and it came as a little sewing kit so I feel that I have put something of myself into it. This cost around £12 and I attached it to the wall with a little velcro button that I made and i think it looks fabulous! The bowl was a bargain too from Homesense and although we don’t actually have one here in Norwich I popped in when i was visiting Newcastle for a friend’s wedding and snapped it up for £5.

The radiator cover was a bit of a faff but I loved the colour and style of this design from Jackstonehouse and  the existing radiator was actually too high for the standard size covers available on the market so my dearest agreed to change the radiators for me. He did it in an afternoon and actually changed what was single panel radiators for smaller double panel ones which will actually give out more heat in the autumn when the heating will need to got on. I was beyond delighted with them and although I’m not finished with the end result as far as pictures and accessories are concerned I wanted to show you how gorgeous they are.

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IMG_0677I am still looking for the perfect lighting and hope to have this in place in the next month or so and I will produce a proper blog post with this space complete but I really wanted to show you my progress so far.

My new obsession is for Scandinavian mid-century vases and I have picked up two on eBay recently. I have also purchased a gorgeous Scandinavian pot for a plant to tuck up on my little shelf area but I have not found the plant yet so my slow decorating continues. I’m looking forward to getting a few more things done in here and I will show them off to you as soon as they are ready. I purchased a wall decal with a little message to my dearest when he walks through the door but you will have to wait to find out more about that!

Arlo’s Room Reveal

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BLOG POST number five

The moment we had the keys in our hand to our new forever home I knew that the very first room I wanted to work on would be Arlo’s room. Arlo is my two year old grandson and he is my world! I help to look after him while his lovely mums works and I share this comitment to him and my daughter with my ex husband Andy. We separated when our children were small but we have always been firm friends and we both delight in this wonderful energetic little boy.

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We moved into Summerville just three weeks before Christmas so we had to produce Christmas for our family before we could even begin to get started on our home project. The first task was to remove the old carpet and paint the walls. I chose white as the main paint for the walls and ceilings in his room because I love how the light plays in the room from the lovely Velux roof light. I wanted to add a little drama and went out of my comfort zone and painted a feature wall navy. I did have a total disaster with this and applied a navy paint from the Valspar range. I was not happy with the results and the wall appeared patchy and the paint finish was uneven after four coats. I went to Homebase and picked up a tin of Dulux and painted the wall again with Sapphire Salute and  I was delighted with the finish. David worked his magic on the woodwork and painted it all with Dulux Once Satinwood.

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The carpet was replaced with a lovely wool carpet from a range at Hilarys. I was so impressed with their home advice and measuring service and I loved that I could choose at home from a good selection. To be honest I think I had chosen before they arrived but this confirmed my choice. David has given me the opportunity to decorate this property and as he says I am the interior designer so he is happy for me to do what I do! The carpet I chose was a  pure wool textured carpet from the Stratford range. We also had it put in our second sitting room too.

We purchased Arlo’s bed before Christmas from John Lewis and it was delivered in just three days, now thats service! I love how fresh and clean it looks we also purchased a new mattress from their basic range and I was really impressed by the quality of this budget mattress. David wanted to spend more on in but I was determined not to go too mad as it was for a child and I didn’t want to be too precious about it and it could be replaced again when he was little older if needed.

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Once the furniture was placed in the room I could begin styling it up. I had a few lovely things from his previous nursery at Cringleford that I wanted to use again but I also wanted to create a different style. The last room was monochrome with pops of colour but I wanted this room to have a very different feel to it. I wanted it to have a softer feel and although I wanted it to have some colour I wanted those tones to be a little more natural and muted. The colour scheme I decided to work with would be navy grey white rose and a soft green. I used the vintage style granny crocheted blanket as a starting point once again and worked with that blanket to find lovely things to go into the room. I used the A initial print that Emmy designed and asked Coral from Velveteen Babies to make a custom bunny garland for Arlo. I sent her pictures of the print and blanket and asked her to help choose the colours from her range of felts to go with the print and blanket. I cried with joy when the garland that Coral had hand stitched for him arrived in the post in a little white box, all wrapped in tissue and ribbons.

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I wanted his room to have a fresh vintage feel and it was the perfect place to enjoy my love of vintage children’s books. I have collected the full set of Beatrix Potter vintage books and have to confess to purchasing some of the titles again because some of them were very early copies that are a little delicate in areas. I wanted to read these books to Arlo and for him to have these books to look at and enjoy until he is old enough to read. Some of them are valuable but more than a collectors set I wanted them to form part of his childhood and I didn’t believe in having these books shut away in a cupboard. If a page gets torn it does and I can replace the book with another copy if I want to. I also have collected a range of Ladybird books from my childhood and the same goes for these too. Some are worth £25 each but once again I want them to be a treasured childhood memory.

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I still have a cot in Arlo’s room. I didn’t want to remove it because one day we may be blessed with more grandchildren so I have it just in case! I am very pleased with the lay out and think that Arlo’s bed is the main feature of this room. I enjoyed buying the little sparkle and liberty stars from Little Cloud and they go so well with the navy darling decal from Decalfolk. In my head I had planned to put it above the cot but when Arlo climbed out of his cot at just eighteen months old It was a quick trip to John Lewis to buy him a bed!. The decal looks perfectly at home amongst the navy and grey stars.

I have a bit of a confession to make, I have an idea in my head of the things I want to put into a room scheme but if i’m completely honest the rooms I work on tend to evolve as I go along. I build them up in layers. I put all the different things into groups so, textiles, paint, wall decorations, toys and so on and I just put things together and try to use repeated colour tones in all the things I bring together. Although I have a colour scheme to work with at the beginning I am happy to mix things that have the colour I want to use in it somewhere! I never work with rigid design, sometimes the thing I need to finish a scheme isn’t on the horizon yet but when I find it I know that it’s perfect!. I am a minimal person so I hate clutter and like things to have a function and space to be. I like each item to shine for it self so I don’t over decorate or over clutter any part of my room schemes. This is why my home is always tidy.

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I made this children’s duvet cover for Arlo’s bed by applying patchwork panels and ribbon to an egyptian cotton duvet cover and purchased the spotty fitted sheet and pillowcase from Next Home. I made the little cushions too from fabrics I have collected over the years. I particularly like the little lamb print in mint green. I am pretty sure the mustard yellow floral vintage print was a shirt in a previous life that I acquired years ago!

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I made the felt ball garland from a couple of garlands I had purchased from Etsy UK but the colours were not right for this room so I stripped them down and chose colours that would work with the slightly more muted scheme and i’m delighted with the results. I still have a pile of felt balls left that might be made into something else another time.

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I have collected some lovely prints over the last two years and I always like to support small businesses that I have found on instagram. I have included the prints from his previous room and added a few new ones too. Take a look at my shop the look part of my website for details of brands I have used in Arlo’s new room.

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I absolutely love the little mustard rainbow I ordered from Cotton Clara as a sewing kit. I love hand stitching and I’m really pleased with the results. It finishes off Arlo’s room a treat and I waited for a much needed rainy day to stitch it! I am so happy with this little space and feel that it will grow with Arlo as he grows and will be perfect for any new blessings that may arrive in the future! I am always on the look out for new things for this space and hope to add some gorgeous vintage Fisher Price toys.

The Garden In July

BlOG POST number four

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Well I think it’s fair to say that this summer is a scorcher! We have not had a single drop of rain since the 6th of June. The lawn is brown and the beautiful plants are really suffering from the distinct lack of the wet stuff. Our garden at Summerville is big with very established deep borders and we have watered the new tender plants that we have put in but we couldn’t even begin to water everything else because it would just go on forever. We haven’t had a hose pipe ban yet but we have been asked to conserve our water supply so the decision was made to let it take its chance.

I could not bring myself to photograph our brown lawn and dream of it being green and lush once more but this will take a couple of months I’m sure. Instead I have created a colourful seating area which seems to have plants that don’t mind the dryer conditions and we will be giving thought to removing some of the plants that have suffered so badly and replacing the planting with shrubs that give more structure all year round with some evergreen varieties that will fill the borders in the middle and at the back. The garden is made up of some interesting planting and features a lot of plants that are bi annuals that come up fresh every year but die back and fade to the ground in the winter months. These plants are lovely and we will keep some of them but allow them to feature in the front of the borders and in spaces between structured shrubs. I really sound like I know what I’m talking about and to some degree I do but I have so much to learn!

Much to our amusement the garden has been designed and planting focused around the colour scheme of purple and some white. So nearly every plant that has flowered is yes you guessed it purple mostly. We do want to get rid of this rigid design formula and introduce some other colours into the garden. This will be costly and could take a while!

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I loved creating this little seating space and we invested in a lovely bistro table and chairs to seat just two from John Lewis. We looked around for several weeks and settled on this grey set that looks really lovely against the shrubby planting. The cost varied a lot, we found this same set at Snape Maltings but the John Lewis buy cost £80 and the same buy at Snape was £120 so it proved that the power of the google search works when you don’t want to over pay for something. David picked up the Lobelia for just a couple of pounds and planted up some pots when I was out one day and I love the results. I picked up the vintage white linen tablecloth from eBay for just £10 and I love that someone has spent hours embroidering flowers onto it but they will never know how much I love it and will treasure it for years to come. The cushion is one of my home makes made with Moda fabric squares. I love how it tucks up on that little chair that says come sit a while.

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I am addicted to granny square crocheted blankets and picked this one up a ten years ago at a Christmas fair for just £5 it lives in my grandson Arlo’s room here but I borrowed it for my styled shots of this lovely little garden space.

The Garden in June

BLOG POST number three

So this garden has turned out to be a little gem. Almost everyday we are met with something new. It is actually a real delight to have inherited an established plot. I’m so pleased that when we arrived everything in the garden was sleeping and as the days get warmer and longer we spend more and more time out here. We have treated ourselves to a gorgeous new bistro table for the little patio area at the right hand side and work continues on the clearing of the messy corner. This is starting to take shape now with the need of a skip and slowly David clears the many old paving slabs and bricks to reveal quite a large space that we plan to make into a kitchen and fruit garden. I love so much that this corner is already screened with board fencing and established victoria plum trees. We have been looking for a shed to fit in the corner and to my surprise at how expensive they are! We were hoping to pick one up for a few hundred pounds but in reality we are looking at over five hundred and probably nearly eight. The plan is to gravel the area with feature paving to the shed and create some lovely raised beds for planting next year.fullsizeoutput_1660I am trying to put a garden journel together to try to identify all the plants we have. This is not as easy as hoped because there are so many but I plan to make a start at least and I am photographing the flower areas on a regular basis so hopefully by the end of the summer I will have more of an idea of what we have and how we need to take care of it.

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The foxgloves are so pretty and I have heard that there are a shortage of bees so if you can’t find many in your own garden it might be because they are all in mine!

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Well that’s my little garden up date and I hope to share more with you soon!

The Garden in May

BLOG POST number two

One of the main reasons we purchased this property was the large garden. The previous owners obviously loved the garden so invested a lot of money and time in it. Both David and I are keen gardeners and we are delighted daily with all the lovely plants and flowers that are popping up. We have plans of our own for it over the next couple of years. We want to replace the patio and steps down to the lawn and have some  gorgeous new walling put in. We have a lot of work to do!

I want to create an outdoor living space too with a wooden painted garden seat with roof to go at one end of the raised patio area and to mix in a garden table and chairs with lots of cushions and patio planting. This project will start in early spring next year so I have a few months to gather my style and source some wonderful things to fill this new space.

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We have replaced the fencing to one side of the garden and removed shabby five foot panels that didn’t give us any privacy. We are amazed at the difference it has made to us. The other side of the garden has an established hedge so apart from needing a trim every now and then we are pleased that it gives us privacy on the other side too!

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Arlo’s Room

BLOG POST number one

Before we moved into this property we knew that it would need decorating throughout and that was part of the appeal. The chance to make each space fully our own and to put our stamp on it. I have always loved interiors and I relish in this opportunity.

The first room I wanted to tackle was my grandson Arlo’s room. It is a good size for a fourth bedroom and has an interesting Velux roof light. I wanted to inject more light into the room and it was previously painted in a very uninspiring beige which I hated. I wanted to give the room the white treatment to see how the light behaved but Arlo’s previous room at our old house was white so I wanted to do something different in here. I love the colour navy blue so I created a scheme with a navy feature wall. It was very brave for me and in a small space I was taking a risk but I wanted the drama!

BEFORE

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The room was in good decorative order so no surprises. The very grotty carpet was the first thing we removed and we discovered that almost every door handle in this property had a different style, and there are a lot of handles but my first task was to find a new handle design I liked and order enough to replace them all. I have pledged only to change handles on rooms we have completed so this could actually take a while! The handles I chose are not expensive and cost around £15 each. I love the shape as it’s designed with the shape of your hand in mind so they are lovely to hold and they are brushed steel which looks contemporary.

THE WHITE TREATMENT

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NAVY FEATURE WALL……..work in progress with just the cutting in left to do! 

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For the very first time in my decorating career I am using low tack masking tape to assist with the cutting in. I’m very good at it but applying navy blue is very unforgiving so I am going to mask up the white for the final coat. I hope it works! The wood work has had a good coat of white satin one coat paint and David has painted nearly all of it so it looks fresh and bright. I had to paint over the bits I splashed with navy but we won’t tell anyone about that!